Veggies on the counter

Adzuki Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Burgers

Posted in main courses by veggies on the counter on February 5, 2011

Today, I have some apologies to make. Firstly, I apologize for not being around here in the last couple of days: in fact, my semester ended yesterday and, to cure the tireness of a pretty hectic week, I had a twelve-hour sleep (yes, you read well) and now I feel really refreshed and brand new. The second apology has to due with the fact that I have another burger recipe to share with you.

I’ve made these burgers last week and was quite surprised with how they came out: the burgers were tasty, had a great texture and after being pan-fried they  really got a nice crispy outside and a chewy inside. As far their taste goes, it’s  toasty and grainy (thanks to the millet), as well as salty and tangy because of the sun-dried tomatoes. I suspect you could replace the adzuki beans for black beans, but on the other hand, canned ones won’t probably work out in here: canned beans tend to be to soft and mushy, and you really want your beans not to be overcooked. On the other hand, you could play a bit with the herbs in here: thyme and chives were what I had on hand, but using fresh basil instead would be a great substitution. Wish you all a great weekend, and I promise I’ll come back very soon with some more veggie love to share. ; )

Adzuki Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Burgers

(makes 6 burgers)

195 grams (1 cup) millet

750 ml (3 cups) water

½ teaspoon salt

60 grams (about 12 halves) dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes

½ teaspoon salt

400 grams (1 ¾ cups) cooked adzuki beans

4 large garlic cloves, peeled

5 tablespoons plus 3 olive oil

freshly grated black pepper

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon dried chives

1. In a dry skillet over medium-heat, toast the millet for about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until it turns golden brown and starts smelling toasty.

2. Transfer the toasted millet to a pan filled with 750 ml (3 cups) water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, decrease the heat to low-medium, add ½ teaspoon salt and cook, covered, for 30 minutes, or until all the water has been absorved and the millet is cooked through. Remove from the heat and let it cool down a bit at room temperature.

3. In the meantine, put the sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl filled with hot water (1 cup – 250 ml – should be enough). Cover, and let the sun-dried tomatoes rehydrate for 15 minutes. Drain them and coarsely chop them. Set aside.

4. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic cloves with a pinch of salt. In a frying pan over medium heat, warm 5 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, but not smoking, add the crushed garlic and salt mixture and fry until golden brown – 4 to 5 minutes. Let the garlic cool to room temperature.

5. In a food processor, process 2 cups of the cooked millet, ½ cup of the cooked adzuki beans, the fried garlic and the oil, the dried thyme and chives, black pepper, and half of the chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Process for 2 minutes, or until a thick purée comes together. Have a taste and season with a little more salt if needed.

6. Add the remaining adzuki beans and sun-dried tomatoes to the purée and pulse no more than 2 or 3 times – you want the burgers to have some texture, so these ingredients only need to be broken down a bit. The mixture should now be thick and easy enough to handle and shape.

7. Lightly oil your hands and divide the mixture into 6 equal portions. Shape into patties the size of your hand palm.

8. In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the burgers when the oil is hot, and pan fry them  for 5 to 6 minutes on each side, only turning them once. Serve hot with your favorite ingredients or as shown in the picture bellow.


Adzuki Bean and Celery Stew

Posted in main courses by veggies on the counter on January 3, 2011


Before we get into today’s recipe, happy new year to everyone! 2010 was a though year for me (both in the professional and personal realms), full of challenges and times when important decisions had to be made. It was also the year I cooked more, having learned from my both succeeded and not-so-well succeeded experiments in the kitchen, and the year I have also started this blog. I’m not a person of making life-changing resolutions or, more precisely, I don’t usually make them this time of the year (although I reflect, as I suppose we all do, about what the previous year has brought to me and what – and how – were its best and worst moments). Anyway, as I’m typing this I’m reflecting about a couple of things I’d like to do more – in culinary terms – in 2011. They’re not resolutions, only desires and things I hope I can accomplish. Those are: I’d like to cook more from cookbooks, studying even more non-vegan recipes and trying to come up with vegan alternatives; to master the art of gluten-free baking; to share more meals with friends and family and to cook more meals alongside friends and family; to have a more mindful way of eating, incorporating as much healthy choices as I can into my diet.

On another front, this year I’d like to run more regularly, to fight the tentation to cut my hair short again, to travel abroad (London and Berlin are on my upcoming travel plans), and to be even more surrounded by people whom I love and admire.

As far as today’s recipe goes, it’s basically an adaptation of this one. It’s a delicious and easy stew, perfect for the cold weather and that goes very well not only with toasted wholegrain bread, but also with some simply cooked quinoa. The recipe is easily doubled, which makes it also a very croud-pleasing dish. Hope you’re all having a great time, and I wish you a 2011 full of fruitful projects and ideas.

Adzuki bean and celery stew

(serves 4 to 6)

500 grams cooked adzuki beans*

10 canned whole plum tomatoes, drained, rinsed and roughly chopped

2 cups light stock

2 large heads of celery (stalks only, trimmed and sliced into 2cm thick chunks)

1 teaspoon celery salt*

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

1 large white onion, peeled and finely sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil

1. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, onion and celery chunks and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, or until the vegetables are soften. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon of the celery salt and cook for additional 4 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, stock and the beans to the pan. Bring to a simmer and, once simmering, decrease the heat to low and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Taste and season with a bit more celery salt if needed. Let the stew sit for a couple of minutes before serving.

*to make the celery salt: Pick a couple leaves (no less than 10) from the celery heads. Heat a dry skillet over high heat and add the leaves. Let them toast for 5 to 10 minutes, or until totally dried out. Then, crumble equal parts of the dried leaves with flaky sea salt. For better results, grind the mixture in a coffee grinder.

*to cook the beans: Soak the beans in a large amount of water for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse them and put them in a large pot. Add water to come at least 2 centimeters over the beans. Bring the water to a boil and, once boiling, decrease the heat to low-medium and cook, covered, for 1 to 2 hours. Once ready, salt the beans and drain them – reserving a couple cups of the liquid in which they were cooked, that you can later use in preparations such as stews and soups. You can now use the beans, refrigerate them (they’ll keep, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container, for up to a week), or bag and freeze them.

recipe adapted from 101 cookbooks